Hadaka Matsuri: What Happens Inside Japans Annual Naked Festival

By SM.17 Feb, 2020




HONSHU, JAPAN: On Saturday, February 15, thousands of people challenged the cold weather to meet at the “Naked festival”Which takes place every year on the Japanese island of Honshu.

The event, called “Hadaka Matsuri” in Japanese, is celebrated on the third Saturday of February at the Saidaiji Kannonin Temple, about 30 minutes by train from the city of Okayama. Your goal is to celebrate the prosperity and fertility.

This year, festival organizers have also taken extra precautions for the outbreak of coronavirus. The organizers placed hand sanitizers at the entrance of the temple and at various places in the festival.

The approximately 10,000 male participants are not as naked as the name of the festival suggests. They have a minimum amount of clothing; usually a loincloth called “fundoshi” and white socks called “tabi”.


How does the “Nude Festival” take place?
Thousands of Japanese men participate in this festival that, according to legend, guarantees good fortune.

At night, men prepare for an hour or two running through the temple grounds and bathing in ice water, before entering the main temple building.

When the lights go out at 10 p.m., a priest throws 100 packages of twigs and two sticks of good fortune from a window. That’s when the commotion begins. The approximately 10,000 men will they fight each other to grab one of the packages and / or the two sticks. According to legend, whoever succeeds is guaranteed a year of good fortune.

The event
It lasts about 30 minutes and some participants emerge with cuts and bruises. Visitors come from all over Japan and some tourists They travel abroad only to participate in it. Some attend the event alone, but many participants join as part of teams representing Business local.


How was the “Naked Festival” born?
The festival evolved from a ritual which began 500 years ago, when villagers competed to take paper talismans delivered by a priest in the Saidaiji Kannonin Temple.

More and more villagers wanted those talismans Lucky paper and ritual grew in size. Over time they realized that paper was torn and clothing was an obstacle, so they removed the clothes and exchanged paper for wood.